Ecuador is a country characterized by diversity -- of people, language, and environment. The majority of Ecuadorians are mestizos, people with a mixture of indigenous and European ancestry. There are 12 distinct ethnic groups that speak 18 languages, and a third of the population is wholly indigenous.

Roughly the size of the state of Colorado, Ecuador has the environmental megadiversity of a much larger country. Four eco-regions -- the Amazon basin, the high Andes, the coastal plain, and the Galápagos Islands -- offer a wealth of flora and fauna that attracts biologists, botanists, and environmentalists from around the world.